How can I lower the environmental impact of labels and packaging?

​If you're a brand owner or a label printing company, we're confident you've asked yourself this question once or twice. With the growing consumer demand and increasing regulations, packaging sustainability has become pivotal. Labels are an essential part of packaging and have a crucial role in enabling recyclability and reuse.

At UPM Raflatac, we are passionate about promoting sustainability and take great pride in being able to offer cutting-edge sustainable solutions to our customers, the best the industry has to offer. We use the four Rs to consistently portray the possibilities you, as a brand owner or a printing company, have for making a positive impact with sustainable labels – Reduce, Recycle, Renew and Reuse.

Read on to discover how to make your labels more sustainable with the four Rs and how the Rs tie into our solutions in sustainable label materials. Learn all essential information on the topic by downloading our Guide to Sustainable Labeling.


Guide to sustainable labeling​ – Learn the essentials with a concise information package


Make sustainable labels with the four Rs – Reduce, Recycle, Renew and Reuse


Lower your environmental impact and reduce the strain on natural resources by using sustainable label materials that are resource-optimized.

Examples for implementing this method include using lighter film, paper face, and liner materials.

Solutions for reducing resources:


Reduce the pressure on virgin feedstocks by shifting to sustainable label materials that include recycled materials.

When it comes to recycled labels, there's a wide array of film, paper face, and liner solutions with recycled materials.

Solutions with recycled materials:


Move beyond fossils by choosing sustainable label materials made with verified sustainable and renewable resources.

There's a wide selection of solutions to choose from, including leading innovations, such as the industry's first 100% wood-based label material.

Solutions for using renewable resources:


Promote circular economy by choosing sustainable label materials that advance packaging recyclability or reuse.

An example of this category is the utilization of wash-off labels that improve PET bottle recycling efficiency.

Solutions for promoting recyclability and reuse:

  • Wash-off labels
  • Recycling compatible labels
  • Removable labels
  • Screenable adhesive
  • Repulpable adhesive

How big is the impact of choosing sustainable label materials?

The impact of your choice to use sustainable label materials depends on many factors, but there is no doubt that it is valuable. To make the difference more tangible, here's an example of your impact if you choose to use PE PCR White TC 85 / RP37 / HD-FSC mechanically recycled content film material (30% post-consumer recycled content and minimum 55% post-industrial waste) instead of PE White FTC 85 / RP37 / HD-FSC standard film material for 100 000 m2 of label material.

The impact has been calculated by utilizing Label Life, our label life cycle assessment (LCA) service. Through the service, you can get LCA calculations on three fundamental metrics: greenhouse gas emissions, energy demand, and water consumption.

Based on: UPM Raflatac's LCA study, externally verified and performed based on the guiding principles laid out in ISO 14040/44 and PAS 2050 standards; Includes content supplied by Sphera Solutions GmbH; Copyright 2022. Results are indicative and information is subject to change without notice. Results of different LCA or carbon footprint calculations cannot be compared.


Understand and optimize your label sustainability with Label Life

Utilize our label life cycle assessment service, Label Life, to learn essential information on how by choosing sustainable labels, you can reduce the environmental footprint of your labels. Label Life offers you:

  • Credible information on the environmental impacts of different label products. Metrics evaluated include energy, water, and greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e).​
  • Cradle-to-grave assessment, including three end-of-life scenarios for the release liner: recycling, incineration, landfill.

Get started with Label Life


Reach pure circularity for your label release liners with RafCycle

Recycling your label waste can have an impact on your CO2 emissions. Utilizing our RafCycle™ label release liner recycling service allows you to do just that while promoting label circularity. With RafCycle, you can:

  1. Enable circular economy with closed loop solutions
  2. Support the efficient use of raw materials
  3. Reduce your label waste recycling costs
  4. Make waste management more effortless
  5. Create brand and business value

Get started with RafCycle